Forensic Chemistry (8376.3)
|Available teaching periods||Delivery mode||Location|
|View teaching periods|| On-Campus
|| UC - Canberra, Bruce
|0.125||3||Faculty Of Science And Technology|
|Discipline||Study level||HECS Bands|
|Academic Program Area - Science||Level 3 - Undergraduate Advanced Unit|| Band 2 2021 (Commenced After 1 Jan 2021)
Band 3 2021 (Commenced Before 1 Jan 2021)
Learning outcomesUpon completion of this unit, students will be able to:
1. Discuss the chemistry and composition of a range of physical evidence types;
2. Relate the scientific principles behind separation and identification sciences, and the scope and limitation of examination techniques, to the analysis of forensic samples;
3. Select and describe appropriate methods for the analysis of a range of physical evidence types; and
4. Interpret results from the chemical analysis of physical evidence and present results in a case file and court report.
Graduate attributes1. UC graduates are professional - communicate effectively
1. UC graduates are professional - display initiative and drive, and use their organisation skills to plan and manage their workload
1. UC graduates are professional - employ up-to-date and relevant knowledge and skills
1. UC graduates are professional - take pride in their professional and personal integrity
1. UC graduates are professional - use creativity, critical thinking, analysis and research skills to solve theoretical and real-world problems
1. UC graduates are professional - work collaboratively as part of a team, negotiate, and resolve conflict
2. UC graduates are global citizens - adopt an informed and balanced approach across professional and international boundaries
2. UC graduates are global citizens - behave ethically and sustainably in their professional and personal lives
2. UC graduates are global citizens - communicate effectively in diverse cultural and social settings
Prerequisites8043 Analytical Chemistry.
|Year||Location||Teaching period||Teaching start date||Delivery mode||Unit convener|
|2023||UC - Canberra, Bruce||Semester 2||31 July 2023||On-Campus||Dr Jurian Hoogewerff|
|2024||UC - Canberra, Bruce||Semester 2||29 July 2024||On-Campus||Dr Jurian Hoogewerff|
The following texts are available online via the UC network (Canvas Literature list) and are the core reference works that should at least be consulted in the unit:
The central forensic chemistry textbook for this unit is: "Forensic Chemistry: Fundamentals and Applications" Editor(s): Jay A. Siegel. Print ISBN: 9781118897720. Online ISBN: 9781118897768. Free online access via UC library. (Bookshop should also have paperback copies that students might want to buy for the rest of their career).
A very good basic introduction to the use of R for forensic statistics is: "Introduction to Data Analysis with R for Forensic Scientists" by Prof James Curran from Auckland University.
A fundamental text for interpretation of forensic evidence is: "Interpreting Evidence: Evaluating Forensic Science in the Courtroom" 2nd edition, Bernard Robertson, G. A. Vignaux, Charles E. H. Berger. Wiley 2016. ISBN: 978-1-118-49243-7.
Topic specific texts:
Forensic Interpretation of Glass Evidence. Edited by Tacha Natalie Hicks , John S. Buckleton and James Michael Curran. CRC Press 2000. Print ISBN: 978-0-8493-0069-1 eBook ISBN: 978-1-4200-4243-6.
Analysis and Interpretation of Fire Scene Evidence. Edited by Kenneth G . Furton and Jose R . Almirall. CRC Press 2004, Print ISBN: 978-0-8493-7885-0. eBook ISBN: 978-0-203-49272-7.
Forensic Applications of Gas Chromatography, Michelle Groves Carlin and John Richard Dean, CRC Press 2013 Print ISBN: 978-1-4665-0754-8 eBook ISBN: 978-1-4665-0755-5
Forensic Examination of Fibres, Second Edition. James Robertson CRC Press 1999. Print ISBN: 978-0-7484-0816-0. eBook ISBN: 978-0-203-48451-7.
Forensic Investigation of Explosions, Second Edition. Alexander Beveridge. CRC Press 2011 Print ISBN: 978-1-4200-8725-3. eBook ISBN: 978-1-4200-8726-0
Advances in Forensic Applications of Mass Spectrometry. Edited by Jehuda Yinon. CRC Press 2003. Print ISBN: 978-0-8493-1522-0. eBook ISBN: 978-0-203-99828-1
Fundamentals of Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy, Second Edition, Brian C . Smith CRC Press 2011, Print ISBN: 978-1-4200-6929-7, eBook ISBN: 978-1-4200-6930-3.
Effective Expert Witnessing, Fourth Edition, Practices for the 21st Century, Jack V . Matson , Jeffrey G . Soper , and Suha F . Daou, CRC Press 2004, Print ISBN: 978-0-8493-1301-1 eBook ISBN: 978-1-4200-4045-6.
US National Academy of Science. 2009 Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States
Microphotospectrometry: FBI Forensic Science Communications 2007
Forensic Glass Comparison: Background Information Used in Data Interpretation, Maureen C. Bottrell
Geologist/Forensic Examiner Trace Evidence Unit FBI Laboratory Quantico, Virginia.
Forensic Chemistry http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/24681709
Submission of assessment items
Extensions & Late submissions
All submittable assessment items must be uploaded to Canvas.
An exception to the above is the mid-semester test and the Case File. The hard-copy case file needs to be submitted to the convenor at the Mock Court in week 13.
Responsibility for understanding
If there is any doubt with regard to the requirements of any particular assignments or assessment procedure, the onus for clarifying the issue rests with the student who should contact the unit Convener or tutor. Further, it is the responsibility of students to ensure that they are correctly enrolled in the unit and that the tutor and Student Administration have their correct contact details.
Special assessment requirements
In order to obtain a pass grade or better, for this unit the student must:
• have attempted all assessment items carrying marks; and
• achieve minimum 50% (>49.49%) average or higher for the total of individual assignments (mid-semester test and research topic essays); and
• achieve minimum 50% (>49.49%) average or higher as an individual for the total of his/her group assignments (after peer assessment adjustment see section 6c).
If the conditions for a pass are met, the grade will be awarded as follows:
- HD 85–100%
- DI 75–84%
- CR 65–74%
- P 50 – 64%
• non-attempted research topic essays covered by a medical certificate will be omitted in the calculation of the average and total mark.
• See section 6c for non-attendance penalty marks and participation bonus marks.
Students have a responsibility to uphold University standards on ethical scholarship. Good scholarship involves building on the work of others and use of others' work must be acknowledged with proper attribution made. Cheating, plagiarism, and falsification of data are dishonest practices that contravene academic values. Refer to the University's Student Charter for more information.
To enhance understanding of academic integrity, all students are expected to complete the Academic Integrity Module (AIM) at least once during their course of study. You can access this module within UCLearn (Canvas) through the 'Academic Integrity and Avoiding Plagiarism' link in the Study Help site.
Use of Text-Matching Software
The University of Canberra uses text-matching software to help students and staff reduce plagiarism and improve understanding of academic integrity. The software matches submitted text in student assignments against material from various sources: the internet, published books and journals, and previously submitted student texts.
Academic integrity of submitted or presented assignments.
In this forensic course full attention is given to complete academic integrity of submitted or presented assignments.
Any assignment under suspicion of any academic misconduct will be forwarded to the Faculty's ADE for review without hesitation. The lecturers in this unit will use URKUND and any other software to check for any form of plagiarism. Copying & pasting, even with minor word changes but keeping the structure, from online or others sources will be detected and reported.
The total workload for this unit is 150 hours. The face-to-face contact time for this unit consists of a 3.5-hour practical (total 21) or 45min team meeting or drop in sessions (total about 5 hours) on alternate weeks (total 26h) and a 2 hour tutorial every week total (24h). Thus the total formal contact time equates to 50 hours during the semester. The remaining 100 hours should be apportioned according to the weighting for each assessment item. For example, the total Expert Witness Report with drafts and presentation is worth 50% (5% + 5% + 30% +10%) of the final assessment and therefore it should be expected to account for at least 50 hours outside of direct contact hours. As all assessment items are related or overlap in content there will be some efficiency in time use but to achieve top marks for this unit students should plan to need the full 150 hours of commitment, as the unit is designed with those 150 hours of commitment in mind (not less!).
Note that when extra laboratory time might be needed to complete or repeat some parts fo the casework this can be negotiated with the convener.
Participation requirements & penalty/bonus marks
Attendance of all tutorials, tutor group session and laboratories is compulsory.
Penalty marks for non-attendance: As the tutorials, team meetings and laboratories are compulsory the following rules for absence and late arrival without documentation will applied:
- -5%: for absence or late arrival for 2 or more tutorials and additional -5% for each following absence or late arrival,
- -5%: for absence or late arrival for more than 1 team meeting and failing the unit if absent or late for 2 or more team meetings,
- -5%: for absence or late arrival for 1 lab, additional -10% for a following absence or late arrival and failing the unit if absent or late for 3 or more labs.
Late arrival is defined as not being present at the start of an activity, e.g. 8:30am Thursday morning for Tutorial.
For absence with medical certificate or equivalent the following rules will be applied:
- Failing the unit if absent for 3 or more laboratories
- Failing the unit if absent for 3 or more supervised team meetings
Bonus marks for leadership and peer support: To promote leadership and peer support the following "Prizes" will be available at the sole discretion of the convener:
- Up to +5%: "Conveners Prize": for a student that provides an extraordinary contribution to management of samples, sample prep, data collection and alike.
- Up to +5%: "Best Mate Prize": for a student that provides an extraordinary contribution to helping struggling class mates academically.
The tutorials may be recorded at the discretion of the lecturer and if technology allows. If recordings are made they will be made available on Echo or otherwise. Pdf's of lecture slides will be made available at the discretion of the lecturer. However if students cannot attend a tutorial they should also make arrangements for lecture notes from fellow students or other options.
Note that lack of participation may result in inability to satisfactorily pass assessment items and lack of participation in the group work can lead to failing the report and presentation pass requirements.
The written mid-semester test will draw upon information discussed in tutorials, relevant literature (e.g. on unit Canvas site), tutor-groups and laboratories during week 1 to 7.
The peer assessment is done after the final presentation when each group member will assess their fellow group members (and themselves) in an anonymous survey about the level of contribution of each member to the group effort. After the survey the convener will use the assessment to adjust the marks of each individual group member. Thus, some students might get higher marks than the overall group mark, and some students might get lower marks but the average mark for the whole group will remain the same. It is important to note that if a student does not contribute at all to the group work their mark for the group component could be halved and resulting in failing the unit if the other individual marks (50%) are low too. Many years of experience has shown that this peer marking scheme fairly attributes appropriate marks to each group member; it penalises freeloaders and rewards hard workers.
Required IT skills
Solid word processing, spreadsheet, referencing and internet skills are assumed. Some experience with the "R" statistical programming environment is assumed. Students that have no experience with "R" are expected to teach themselves "R" using existing online material before the unit. Please contact the Convener for advice.
A laboratory coat and safety glasses are required for all laboratory work. They can be obtained from the UC Union Shop and from stores such as Bunnings or Workin' Gear (Fyshwick).
Work placement, internships or practicums
Learning in this unit will be guided a mock forensic case and thus provide a simulated professional work experience.
Unforeseen circumstances (e.g. COVID related) beyond the unit convener's control could result in changes to the mode of delivery of lectures, tutorials and practicals (where applicable) and assessments. Students will be advised if this occurs and appropriate alternatives will be arranged if possible. As this unit is very dependent on hands-on laboratory activities this unit might be delayed or canceled and offered again at a date that such laboratory activities are permittable again.
Teaching philosophy and conduct
The teaching philosophy of the unit convener and associated staff is that all work in this 3rd year unit is not just a one-way stream of information from the staff to the students, but a collaborative discovery journey of both students and staff. To promote deep understanding the unit is designed to guide and challenge the students to reinvent "the wheel(s)" for themselves rather that provide straight recipes. It is therefore necessary and expected that the students fully commit themselves to the unit, by coming prepared to lectures, participate actively in group activities, lectures, tutorials and labs and spend abundant time on self-study. The students may expect that the staff will create a supportive intellectual environment and teach and mentor to the best of their abilities in a professional respectful manner. The staff and unit convener expect in exchange that the students will behave in an equally professional and respectful manner. The staff may, from time to time, make general (or discrete individual) suggestions towards improving professional behaviour, speech, correspondence and appearance in class and laboratory, with the aim to improve the learning experience in the unit and/or to guide students in their efforts to increase their chances of future professional employment.
Foundation of Unit
This unit involves research-led education and/or work-integrated learning. There are active researchers and industry experienced staff delivering this unit ensuring the material is contemporary and relevant.
Provision of information to the group
Notifications through the Canvas Announcements Forum or the Canvas Discussion Forums are deemed to be made to the whole class. It is the responsibility of the student to ensure that they check for announcements on the Unit's Canvas website (Canvas forum messages are also emailed to student email addresses only). Students should ensure they check their student email regularly. The Canvas discussion forums will be checked by staff regularly.
Use of student email account
The University Email policy states that "students wishing to contact the University via email regarding administrative or academic matters need to send the email from the University account for identity verification purposes". Therefore all unit enquiries should be emailed using a student university email account. Students should contact email@example.com if they have any issues accessing their university email account.